Baltimore Orioles: Pace of the off-season

A lot has been made of how little the Baltimore Orioles have done this off season thus far. However whether they’re good moves or bad, most Orioles fans know that Dan Duquette doesn’t really get cranking up until February or March. With the team’s annual FanFest celebration this coming Saturday however, fans do want to know who they’ll be seeing on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this year.

That aside, the Orioles aren’t really unique in their tactics this time around. The hot stove season has been a cold one league-wide. It’s kind of shocking to see the caliber of player that’s still out there on the market. I would have thought that the Arrieta’s and the Moustakas’ of the world would have been scooped up long ago.

But it seems that plenty of other teams are taking the wait and see approach – just as Dan Duquette has done almost every year in Baltimore. And I think that a lot of it is due to the fact that teams are becoming more and more budget-wary. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, signing a big ticket free agent at the winter meetings or even before makes a big splash and it gets fans excited. And I think that at times, that’s literally been teams’ goals. Get fans excited about the next season back in December so they’ll buy a ton of merchandise, tickets, etc. And it may not necessarily be a bad idea…

…because if you wait too long on a guy, he’s not guaranteed to be there forever. But with that said, while it’s great to have that guy a part of your team and merchandise flying off the shelves, suddenly it comes time to pay the player. And that’s where teams realize that the idea of a mega-contract lasting ten years or so might not have been the greatest idea.

So I think that a lot of teams are waiting, in hopes that eventually guys’ prices will come down. If you could add a guy like Arrieta for two or three years at a reasonable salary, is that not better than adding him for seven or eight years at an inflated one? It all but guarantees that you get value for your money, because the player in theory won’t wane until after the contract is up.

Next year of course the likes of Machado and Harper will be on the market, which will make for a vastly different off season to this year. But for now, most of the league is waiting and seeing.

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